Greetings from the GC!
This building was actually supposed to be all quiet tonight, with the exception of the changeover crew toiling about to transform the floor for the PIAA wrestling tournament coming in here tomorrow.
But alas, it’s a three-game week for the Hershey Bears, thanks to the Blizzard of 2016. After tonight, we can finally put the memories of that historic storm away (except for the Zdeno Chara-sized snow piles that remain around the complex). Nobody knew what would happen around the AHL in the days that followed that monster snowstorm.
But here we are, on a Wednesday night, getting set to watch two of the hottest teams in the Eastern Conference face off against each other.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers come into tonight winners of six consecutive games. The streak started on the Wednesday before the storm, a 3-2 overtime win against the St. John’s IceCaps. Springfield, Hartford, Albany, Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton were next to go down in defeat – the most recent game coming as a big help to the Bears, Bridgeport’s 3-2 win over the division-leading Penguins at Mohegan Sun Arena.
This is Bridgeport’s longest win streak of the season. Oddly enough, it comes directly on the heels of a six-game losing streak, one that started the last time the Bears and Sound Tigers faced off – a 5-0 Hershey win on January 3 at Webster Bank Arena.
The Sound Tigers haven’t won this many consecutive games since they won their first five games of the season. The impressive part of this run of success is that it has come without the man who was once their leading scorer. Winger Joe Whitney has been out with an injury, has not played since January 15, and is expected to be out long-term. Veteran Bracken Kearns has taken the team scoring lead, and pretty much leads in all offensive categories: goals (16), assists (20), points (36), power-play goals (tied-four), plus-minus (+15) and shorthanded goals (tied-one).
Goaltender Christopher Gibson would figure to start this game, and has been a tough opponent for the Bears to figure out. He has one win, one loss and one shootout loss, a goals-against average of 1.64 and save percentage of .934.
Justin Peters gets the start for the Bears, and he has been absolutely terrific lately. He is 11-6-5 on the season, and is 2-1-0 against Bridgeport with a 2.84 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.
It is Hometown Heroes Night here in Chocolatetown. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, to all who serve this great nation of ours. The flag will wave proudly at ice level tonight, held by the starting lineups of both hockey clubs.
The pre-game is on the air at 6:20 PM, and the puck drops at 7:00 PM. Caps Radio 24/7 will carry this game as well on the Caps Mobile App and online at CapsRadio247.com.